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These curriculum summaries have been developed by teachers and administrators to serve as another way of communicating with parents. They highlight the core curriculum and expectations for student learning at each grade level.

The curriculum summaries describe what most students at a grade level are expected to know and be able to do by the end of the school year. They also reflect the goals of the various Massachusetts curriculum frameworks. It is important to note that although children may learn and grow at different rates and through varied styles, all should make regular progress.

While we have high expectations for all students and encourage each student to work to their capacity, parents and teachers recognize that some students have more difficulty in school. Others will progress more rapidly and move well beyond these core expectations. It is the joint responsibility of school and home to provide support, challenge, and encouragement for all students.

Reading/Language Arts

The first grade reading/language arts program stresses a continuum of skills and strategies necessary for beginning reading and writing. Core instruction is delivered through the 2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Journeys reading program, components of which include instruction in phonological awareness, phonics and decoding, comprehension, vocabulary, study skills, and writing (including grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling.) Beginning reading concepts are enhanced by attention to skills in listening, speaking, viewing and representing. The core anthology is supplemented by numerous print and digital resources that assist students in the development of close reading and analysis skills. Teachers also integrate reading with content areas such as science, math, and social studies. Key concepts are presented to students in whole-class format while Response to Intervention (RTI) practices allow individual needs to be met in small skill-based groups. Students are assessed using DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) in order to identify necessary and appropriate intervention techniques. A district-wide literacy portfolio plan assesses student progress in skills indicated by both the Common Core framework and the core reading program. Students continue their exploration of the primary forms of writing in the expository, opinion, and narrative modes. Grade 1 students will follow a handwriting program to learn upper and lower case vertical manuscript letters, following four simple, continuous strokes.

Social Studies

The grade 1 social studies curriculum is aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for History/Social Science, as well as English Language Arts and Literacy. It begins with focusing on the family, school, and the community at large. Children explore the various roles of people in these settings. Continued understanding of seasonal changes is combined with problem solving and critical thinking while analyzing such information as the effects of regional temperatures and rainfall. Included in the curriculum is the exploration of American freedom fighters, inventors, heroes, and leaders, as well as the diverse and important role of women. Celebrations continue to be a key component of understanding the diversity of cultures. The meaning of citizenship in relation to school, the community, and the nation is an integral part of the study of our national symbols. Included in this concept is the importance of caring for the Earth. Throughout this curriculum, children compare and contrast the past and the present, focusing first on their immediate environment and then expanding to the larger community, and, ultimately, to the world at large. Mapping skills are a key component of this curriculum, and timelines are used to assist in the understanding of the progression of events and to better understand the concept of past and present.  Whenever possible, social studies will be taught in an integrated manner with science, mathematics, language arts, and reading. In particular, teachers will utilize picture books, historical fiction and other trade books to thematically connect literacy to social studies.


The grade 1 science program follows an inquiry and constructivist approach. Class time is typically devoted to hands-on activities followed by discussions to help students gain an understanding of important concepts. Science at this level is often integrated with literature, social studies, and health. Using the natural curiosity that young children have about plants and animals, the Grade 1 organisms unit fosters observational skills as students care for organisms in aquariums and terrariums. Specific science objectives include: recognizing that all organisms require food, water, air, space, and shelter for survival; observing and describing the characteristics of a variety of plants and animals in woodland and freshwater environments; observing and describing life cycles of organisms including plants and butterflies. Grade 1 students will also observe and experiment with basic properties of energy, with a focus on light and sound. Class time may be used for teacher presentations, student sharing, videos, hands-on activities and experiments, and interest-centered experiences. Engineering design challenges are integrated to provide opportunities for students to apply science content. Student assessment is based on participation, task completion, and the articulation of ideas through writing and drawing of observations in a science journal.


The curriculum of the Hingham Public Schools is aligned with and based on the 2017 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for Mathematics. Hingham uses the Everyday Mathematics program (Wright Group) as its primary tool to teach the mathematics curriculum.

First grade Everyday Mathematics content emphasizes the following:

Number Sense – counting; reading and writing and modeling whole numbers; investigating whole number place-value; exploring fractions; using ordinal numbers.

Computation – learning addition and subtraction facts and exploring fact families; beginning informal work with properties of numbers and operations; exploring the values of coin combinations.

Patterns & Relations – exploring attributes, patterns, sequences, relations, and functions; finding missing numbers and rules in Frames-and-Arrows and “What’s My Rule?” problems.

Measurement/Geometry – using tools to measure length and weight; using clocks, calendars, timelines, and thermometers; exploring 2- and 3-dimensional shapes.

Data & Chance – collecting, organizing and displaying data using tally charts, tables, line plots and graphs.

Hingham believes that concept mastery comes over a period of time, first through informal exposure and then through more formal and directed instruction. Teachers utilize a combination of whole group instruction, small group activities and individual learning experiences. Student progress is assessed using ongoing and formal unit assessments.

Foreign  Language

The elementary foreign language program is a student-centered interactive approach to learning Spanish. Students are taught basic communication skills through function-based thematic units. They include such topics as greetings and responses, counting, colors and shapes, days of the week, months, weather expressions, clothing, animals, members of the family, etc. Initially, instruction is implemented via oral language with a gradual transition to written language. Cultural aspects of the Spanish speaking world are interwoven throughout the lessons as applicable. Use of the creative arts such as music, storytelling, rhyme, and drawing promote learning in an enjoyable as well as meaningful environment. Students in grades K-5 participate in the elementary foreign language program once per six-day cycle.


First grade students are scheduled for art at least once in each six-day cycle. The focus of the curriculum is on developing skills by using a variety of materials and media. Students are introduced to the elements and principles of art and design such as color, line, texture, shape, form, pattern, value, space and composition. They create artwork from observation and imagination while focusing on creative expression. Students begin to exercise critical thinking skills, responding to their own work and cultural art forms. While personal connections to students’ own experiences are stressed, an emphasis is placed on integration with classroom themes and core curriculum objectives. Evaluation in first grade is based on students’ level of independence in completing art objectives.


Students in grade 1 are scheduled for classroom music at least once in each six-day cycle. Instruction is interactive and students will learn to: sing as a basis for the curriculum; move to a beat; dance to music; respond to recorded examples; appreciate all styles of music; participate in music-related games; and develop their ability to sing in tune. Wherever appropriate, instruction will provide opportunities to make connections between music and literature, social studies, science, mathematics, and other disciplines.

Physical Education

The physical education curriculum is an activity-based program designed to promote the proper skills and attitudes that are associated with sport, recreation, and good health. The curriculum is presented through individual, partner, group, and team experiences. Major themes for study include: movement; games; recreational or leisure time activities; sports; and physical fitness. Primary grade (K-3) instruction is presented through one or more 40 minute classes in each six-day cycle. Topics for study include: locomotor skills (run, skip, hop, etc.); low organization games; lead-up sports; health; and sportsmanship. Students are expected to show age-appropriate development in both skill and understanding.

Computer Science

Students are introduced to various age-appropriate technologies and applications that enhance learning in areas such as counting, understanding math families, phonics, writing sentences and drawing.  In addition, students experience activities using introductory programming and coding, introductory word processing skills, and develop simple keyboard familiarity.


Students in grade 1 visit the library regularly for both formal instruction and book selection which includes read-aloud, discussion sessions, and peer sharing opportunities.  The library media objectives include: introducing resources, procedures, and rules of the library media center; understanding the parts of a book (cover, title page, etc.); understanding terms (author, illustrator, fiction, etc.); understanding picture book shelving scheme (alphabetical to the first letter); exemplary authors and illustrators; Caldecott Awards; and easy nonfiction  books through story telling and activities.


Primary grade instruction (1-3) involves formal classes as well as informal responses to incidents or related curriculum references (“teachable moments”).  Typical subjects for study include: daily hygiene; disease prevention; safety and injury prevention; and physical, social and emotional health. The study of health focuses on the individual, the family, and the community.  The major themes are: health habits; safety; nutrition; and drug  safety.  Social and emotional health is taught using the Second Step program which includes lessons on empathy, impulse control and problem solving, and anger management.  Class time is used for teacher presentation, class discussions and student projects.

Suggestions For Parent Assistance

  • Develop good nutritional, rest, exercise, and safety habits.
  • Work with the school to develop good study skills and self-discipline.
  • Show an active interest in your child’s daily school activities.
  • Help your child to select materials and ideas from home which contribute to class activities and discussions.
  • Plan family experiences which support topics studied at school.
  • Encourage your child to pursue individual interests such as hobbies, arts, and athletics.
  • Volunteer in your child’s school and attend individual conferences and school events.
  • Consult with the classroom teacher about specific ways to help your child.
  • Provide a place and time for your child to complete homework assignments comfortably and on time.
  • Assist your child with the completion and review of homework, but ensure the final product is reflective of the child’s under- standing of the assignment.
  • Foster an interest in reading by reading regularly to and with your child.


At grade 1, student progress reports are issued twice per year. There is no standardized testing component at this level, but curriculum and assessment activities do reflect goals that will be evaluated as part of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS 2.0) testing in later grades. Students are assessed using DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) in order to identify necessary and appropriate intervention techniques to help children achieve given benchmarks. Literacy portfolios and math folders contain samples of classroom assessments and other student work.

For more information

Questions about grade level curriculum should be directed first to your child’s teacher. The principal or assistant principal may provide additional information.

East Elementary

Foster Elementary

Plymouth River Elementary

South Elementary

Superintendent’s Office

Comments about this document may be directed to Dr. LaBillois at [email protected] or 781-741-1500.